First off, thank you for the many prayers, calls, texts, and visits. Our family has experienced such an outpouring of love and encouragement that we feel using CaringBridge will be the most efficient way to provide updates to you. We thank you in advance for re-directing your encouragement by visiting this site where we will be posting regularly. This will allow Cyndi to receive your love and encouragement without spending her energy on the phone or by putting personal information on social media :)
Many of you are already aware that earlier this summer my mom started experiencing shoulder pain that was diagnosed as a partially torn rotator cuff. To make a 3-month story short, she attempted Physical Therapy and after no relief, the Orthopedist began running tests to determine the best surgical approach to repair her shoulder. The tests revealed several anomalies that raised a few red flags, prompting a referral to the Oncologist. My mom met with the Oncologist and after some in-office blood work, her work up and symptoms seemed to be consistent with a rare blood cancer known as Myeloma. After other blood work and tests were conducted the Oncologist was able to confirm that my mom does have Myeloma, specifically Multiple Myeloma since there are several tumors throughout her body.
Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that affects the plasma cells. In multiple myeloma, malignant plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, crowding out the normal plasma cells that help fight infections. These malignant plasma cells then produce abnormal proteins (m protein) which may cause tumors. In some cases, the malignant cells may cause a single tumor, called a solitary plasmacytoma, but if multiple tumors are formed, then the disease is called multiple myeloma. While MM is rare, it's the second most common blood cancer and is highly treatable thanks to new drugs and medical advances.
We are now focusing on treatment which requires tons of consults, additional blood work, scans, and tests, and second opinions....
Treatment will begin with radiation to the 3 primary tumors (head, shoulder, and hip) and the doctor is confident this will dramatically improve the pain my mom is in. We anticipate starting radiation in the next week and the process will involve roughly a dozen continuous treatments, with only the weekends as breaks. If the radiation is successful, my mom will not only be in way less pain, but the tumors will have shrunk (ultimately, the shrinking of the tumors is what provides pain relief).
After radiation has wrapped up, chemotherapy will be introduced. While we don't have all of the logistics and specifics (more appointments focusing on this leg of the treatment next week), Cyndi will be taking chemo orally. We are thankful that she doesn't have to be on the road every day to receive chemo!
Lastly, after chemo has wiped out all of the myeloma cells, a stem-cell transplant will be conducted at UNC. This is a fairly new practice that involves collecting healthy cells from my mom and freezing them. Once the doctors are confident that her body is free from cancer cells, her frozen healthy cells will be infused back into her body so that she can begin producing new bone marrow.
As you can imagine, the news has rocked our world, but our faith is going to be bigger than any of our fears. We are so thankful for your prayers- prayers for peace, prayers for confidence in the doctors, prayers of comfort and healing, and prayers that the "C" in "Christ" would be much larger than the "C" in "Cancer". We are looking to Jesus to be our comfort and our strength.